For people alive at the time, or those of us who scraped a little deeper into sixties British blues-rock than the Rolling Stones and the Animals, there were a few figures from the dawn of British blues who ran musical training camps for musicians who later rose to the top of the English music scene. John Mayall saw Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor come and go on to join huge acts; Brian Auger is another English band leader who has helped start the careers of singers like Julie Driscoll, and no less than two drummers who ended up joining seventies chart-toppers The Average White Band. In later years, he toured with fellow English soul-man Eric Burdon. They appeared at the enormous German Rockpalast Festival, and recorded a live c.d. about a decade later. So far in this millennium, Brian Auger has been touring and recording with his drummer and son Karma (to whom, along with his wife Ella, the 1975 album “Closer To It” is dedicated) and his daughter
This rather under-attended show at Healey’s Roadhouse (a more elegant milieu than the former Healey’s at Queen and
The second set kicked off with Brian introducing “Whenever You’re Ready,” the opening cut from the “Closer To It” album, which is presumably one of Brian’s favourites as he regularly plays material from it. This steadily building funk jam allowed Brian to stretch out a little on the keyboards. His classic Hammond B-3 organ sound in full force, it was a treat to hear keyboard improvising that didn’t drown itself in a sea of synthesizers.
Bass player Ernest Tibbs, well regarded in his own right, was also given a chance to cut loose during some passages. Drum solos by Karma Auger were kept to a minimum, as the drummer concentrated on providing the rock steady pounding required by Tibbs and Auger Sr. The set concluded with a slow burning cover of “Light My Fire”. The Oblivion Express treatment is paced almost like a slower rendition of Jackie Wilson’s version of this oft-covered hit, but